I'd like to start by expressing my absolute gratitude to those of you who reached out to me either through commenting on my last post; emailing, texting or calling me; asking friends about me and how I'm doing or sending positive thoughts or prayers my way. I can't tell you how connected and cared for that made me feel. I have spent the last few weeks in a pretty chaotic place in my head and I feel like I've finally found a small nugget of clarity and the peace that comes with it.
First: the job. The unknown is always intimidating, but once I actually got in there, it wasn't so scary. Not only is the environment extremely laid back and the staff friendly, but also, three days in I was approached about training for management shifts to fill in when the current managers are occupied with other events. I came from a place where competence and integrity were frequently overlooked and undervalued, "promotion" to management was the first step out the door with the highest turnover rate than any other position. I was pleasantly surprised when my experience, competence and integrity were so quickly recognized and it was the sign I needed in order to remember that sometimes opportunities pop up when and where you least expect them. The fact that I have a sustainable income now has eased some of the pressure that I was feeling to figure everything out now and the opportunity to get some experience that looks good on paper makes me feel like I'm actually moving forward at the same time.
Second: soap. I was sort of on hold with the heavy production of soap because I didn't feel focused. In a recent huddle with my branding manager and all around Sudstress advocate Erin and my new, awesome, printing account manager Kim, I regained some focus and instead of trying to be everything to everyone, I've decided to narrow my focus to a few key aspects. Wedding favors & gifts and Whole Foods (if they'll still have me). I will not be participating in festivals in 2010 (except for a couple possibilities at the holiday season) and I will not be taking on new wholesale accounts this year, though I will maintain those which already exist. I will also focus exclusively on soap rather than trying to expand my product line with items that do not excite me.
Third: home. I have always had difficulty creating and maintaining organization, in the home, in my head, in my papers... I have a lot of ideas and want to initiate several projects and have a tendency to get scattered both in my thoughts and in my home. I haven't moved in 4 years and as I'm sure you know, things accumulate. I have begun spring cleaning, but with a much more aggressive attitude about clearing out old items that no longer serve me. (thanks Hoarders) I am doing this not only for the obvious benefit, but also for the practice; focusing on small goals and putting one foot in front of the other to create a new way of living for myself. I was reminded recently by a friend that I explained riding up steep hills on my bike; I focus on the ground directly in front of me rather than looking to the top of the hill, otherwise I get overwhelmed and won't make it. When I stay focused on what's directly in front of me, keeping in mind that things will get easier eventually allows me not only to make it to the top, but the process doesn't seem as long or difficult. Applying this method to less tangible goals is where I could use the practice.
Fourth: issues of the heart. Part of where this hurricane of mental debris started was with a romantic interest. Recently, someone with whom I'd begun to get to know and spend time with a few years ago reintroduced himself into my life out of the blue. The twist is that last year he moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles, which makes it a challenge to get excited about. Being that I just ended a long distance relationship, the thought of developing feelings for someone all the way across the country again would just seem like torture, but somehow I feel compelled to keep talking to him and accepting invitations to visit. He excites me and that's difficult to ignore. The experience so far has triggered some old emotional patterns that have been cluttering up my life and I feel this is an opportunity to rid myself of them.
In an attempt at brevity, I'll say that in my formative years, there were several occasions in which I had the proverbial rug pulled out from under me when I was being kind, open, trusting and genuine. A few of these incidences were extremely devastating to me and somewhere along the line, I began to create and maintain a certain emotional distance from people. After life taught me that things can and do fall apart at a moment's notice when you least expect it, often times I think and behave from the end, where things have already fallen apart. Now that I'm an adult, I am taking responsibility for these feelings and am consciously working to change those patterns in an attempt to lead a more fulfilling life. There is a big learning curve, however, and that's where things can get a little messy and embarrassing.
Recently, as I started to get a little invested in this guy, fear overwhelmed me and I ended up trying to control something that simply cannot be controlled. I tried to regulate and seal everything into a neat little box in an effort to prevent any undesirables from seeping in. Inevitably, this is destructive behavior and when it didn't work, my inclination was to move to the other side and shut off, which is unfortunately all too easy and familiar. I know that this is not a fulfilling way to live, but the alternative is new and scary. I fell down and all I can do at this point is get up, dust myself off and try again; maybe with him, maybe not. I would like to strike a balance between allowing for the possibility of emotional intimacy without letting fear take over and going all Tommy Boy on his ass.
I got into trouble by focusing on the outcome rather than the process. I felt so scared and out of control and that led to some embarrassing, cliched behavior. I could see myself acting like a lunatic but was temporarily compelled by fear and I could not stop. To my surprise and delight, he still calls me, for now. While I would like for it to work out, I have to remember that I am a swell lady and I will be fine either way.
Thanks Neko Case for my post title.